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Discussing the Role of Museums in Developing the Relationship between Art and Artifact - Essay Example

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'Art is not a univeral but a changing Western Cultural Category'. Discuss the role of museums in developing the relationship between 'art' and 'artifact'. Introduction While cultural artifacts have existed since the earliest moments of Western culture, the exact definition of art has shifted dramatically over the centuries…
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Discussing the Role of Museums in Developing the Relationship between Art and Artifact
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Download file to see previous pages Analysis Even as what constitutes art has been considered since at least Greek antiquity, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that prominent considerations of the museum or institution as a determining agent in the artifact emerged. Danto (1964) is recognized as one of the foundational studies in these regards. This text considered the consternation over why some of Andy Warhol’s brillo boxes were considered art, yet the same one’s featured in the grocery store weren’t. Danto ultimately determined that it was the artist’s view that determined whether the object was art or not. This is significant as the same decision-making occurs within the institutional context of the museum when it chooses one artifact over another. While Danto’s perspective was one of the original considerations of the museum as developing the relationship between art and artifact, later theorists have criticized and augmented this perspective. Dickie (1971) argued that rather than the artist or institution mediating art and artifact, there should exist an objective discourse or static value that roots the nature of the artifact. Eaton (1983) extended Dickie’s perspective. ...
In these regards, the artifact must be a physical object, but also fit within or comment on the historical spectrum of art practices. The evolutionary study of art history would relegate the beginnings of postmodern institutional critique in the activities of the European avant-garde. Performing and creating, the Dadaists acted idiotically to deal with the trauma of World War I. Marcel Duchamp’s perfunctory arrangement and signing of an inverted urinal as sculptural art object in Fountain (1916) questioned pre-existing notions of aesthetics and authorship, where an object -- found and placed in a context for observation -- is declared art by artistic force of the artist. A similar sentiment can be seen in Walter de Maria’s installations. In Broken Kilometer (1979), situated in Fig. 1, five hundred brass rods are laid out as an installation of mechanically reproduced objects. Fig. 1 Broken Kilometer A thousand meters of the material was mechanically cut to six meters per rod and placed in the gallery with incremental gaps between each rod. This arrangement creates a sense of recession and vastness within the open architecture of the gallery space, even questioning the extent that the museum or the museum functions as the artifact. While these perspective have operated as a distinguishing factor between art and artifact, there are forms of art that further push the boundaries on such notions. Radicalism is a challenging of traditional notions of art, its reception, and distribution. Looking at works that were made between 1970 and 2010, radical critique exists as a paradoxical relationship between a subversive gesture and its canonization in the art museum. It seems that the artist benefits from canonization and entry into the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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